Symbolicarum Quaestionum (Symbolic Questions)

This is an example of a sixteenth-century emblem book, in which combinations of words and images draw upon classical sources to make moral, political and religious points. Symbol III is a defence of artistic expression. The accompanying engraving shows Socrates painting. Standing intimately behind Socrates is a winged figure, below whom is a caption reading ‘Daimon Eudaimon’. The Greek daimon was an intermediary being who moved back and forth between humans and the gods. It also acted as a person’s guardian spirit through life and advocate after death. Daimon nevertheless became analogous with genius, and the daimon of Socrates was the best-known example of it.


Copper engravings probably by Giulio Bonasoni (c. 1498 – after 1574)

In Latin; 406 pages, 204 x 148 mm

Late sixteenth-century centrepiece binding: calf parchment with gold tooling; with an added early nineteenth-century gold tooled leather spine